Australia saved their faint hopes of reaching the Rugby World Cup knockout levels alive with an unconvincing 34-14 victory over minnows Portugal on Sunday.
Tries from forwards Richie Arnold, David Porecki, Angus Bell and Fraser McReight, and winger Marika Koroibete secured Australia a bonus level and a Pool C lifeline, whereas Portugal hit again via Pedro Bettencourt and Rafael Simoes.
The Wallabies can nonetheless attain the quarter-finals if Fiji lose to Portugal subsequent week with no bonus level.
MATCH CENTRE: Australia vs Portugal rating, stats
“It was good, the boys dug deep knowing it could be our last game and credit to Portugal, they are a very solid team,” Australia’s No. 8 Rob Valetini mentioned.
“We pride ourselves on the forwards trying to get over their forwards. A lot of things we did at training transferred over to the field, we knew the game was going to be won by the forwards.”
It was a poignant evening for Wallaby prop James Slipper, who broke his nation’s file for probably the most caps at a World Cup.
“I think we are really proud for what we gave, but it is a loss. I am proud, but not happy to be honest,” Portugal captain Tomas Appleton mentioned.
“We still have one more shot to show what we can do next week, but we are a bit disappointed.”
Stream Over 50 Sports Live & On-Demand with Kayo. Join now and begin streaming immediately >
Portugal confirmed a fearlessness to run the ball from the get-go, even from deep inside their very own half.
Despite an early penalty from Australia’s Ben Donaldson, Portugal deservedly took the lead when, taking part in with a penalty benefit.
A slick backs transfer set centre Bettencourt free on the overlap to dive over within the nook.
Samuel Marques transformed however moments later Bettencourt hit his reverse quantity Izaia Perese with a excessive sort out and was despatched to the sin bin.
Donaldson missed the ensuing penalty however Australia quickly made the additional man depend with Valetini offloading to lock Arnold to attain subsequent to the posts.
Portugal grew to become ragged, freely giving possession cheaply and Wallaby captain Porecki punished them once more, touching down from the again of a short-range driving maul.
And earlier than Portugal had been again up 15 males once more, prop Bell launched himself on the line from shut in to attain Australia’s third strive.
Once they’d their full contingent again, the enterprising Portuguese had been once more the higher facet.
Portugal thought they’d scored a genuinely-earned second strive however Wallaby fullback Andrew Kellaway’s last-ditched sort out compelled flanker Nicolas Martins into contact earlier than he dotted down, leaving Australia 24-7 up on the break.
Australia secured the attacking bonus level seven minutes into the second interval after one other Portugal penalty allowed them to kick deep into their opponents’ 22, earlier than Mark Nawaqanitawase was in a position to pop the ball off for flanker McReight to attain.
Donaldson missed the conversion however Australia had been effectively in management towards their spirited opponents.
Yet Portugal continued to play with verve and panache and thought they’d scored once more when hooker Mike Tadjer was pushed over, however he was dominated to have knocked on within the grounding.
Wallaby substitute hooker Matt Faessler was yellow-carded for an infringement within the driving maul however Portugal couldn’t capitalise and knocked on once more metres from the road.
But then Wallaby substitute centre Samu Kerevi was sin-binned for a forearm smash into Bettencourt’s head and Australia had been taking part in with 13 males.
Portugal saved coming and ultimately they drove Australia again from a five-metre scrum and Rafael Simoes touched down.
Australia had the final phrase as Marika Koroibete ploughed over late on for his or her fifth strive.